Prairie Spirit Trail State Park

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See also: Bike Prairie Spirit http://www.bikeprairiespirit.com/

This linear park is located along a former rail bed between Iola and Ottawa, a distance of 51 miles. The city of Garnett is the midway point, and the park office is located at the Garnett Area Chamber of Commerce building. The Prairie Spirit Trail connects with the 9-mile long Southwind Rail Trail between Humboldt and Iola. Combined, the trails pass through 10 charming rural communities.

The Prairie Spirit Trail offers a peaceful and calm tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of big city life. The trail is a linear park passing through three counties with eight pocket-parks along the way. It is a greenway and travel corridor open to pedestrians and bicyclists that traverses diverse ecosystems including tallgrass prairie, riparian areas, agricultural lands, and communities.

Along rural portions, the trail is a hard packed limestone screening surface. The trail is asphalted through Garnett and Ottawa. The trail averages a minimum of 8 feet wide. It follows the original rail bed of the old Leavenworth, Lawrence and Fort Gibson Railroad. Built in the 1860’s, it was the first north-south rail line in Kansas. The grades are moderate, providing easy travel for hikers and cyclists alike.

A separate per-person trail pass is required to use the trail for persons 16 years of age and over, except in the city limits of Iola, Garnett and Ottawa. $3.50 self-issue day permits are available at trailheads. Annual permits are available for $12.50 where KDWPT licenses and permits are sold.

Phone:
Address:
419 S. Oak
Garnett,KS    66032
County/Counties:
Trail News - Updated: 08/26/2016

Trail Update

 

It's a great day to visit a trail.  Wildlife, wildflowers, and diverse habitats and communities await your viewing pleasure out on the Prairie Spirit Trail.  On your journey be sure to stop at the rest benches along the trail and take a look at the trail information guides.  Each guide gives visitors three things that they may be able to see on the trail.  They were placed for the trail as an Eagle Scout project by Nathan Wiltsey.

Remember the Prairie Spirit Trail hooks into two other trails which will lead you into yet more trails and communities. To the South in Iola, the Southwind trail hooks to the Prairie Spirit and travels from Iola to Humboldt in Allen County.  This trail is fully complete and well maintained.  Allen County also has the Missouri Pacific Recreational Trail, Centennial Trail and the Lehigh Portland Trail.

To the North the Prairie Spirit connects with the Flint Hills Nature Trail (FHNT) in Ottawa.  The FHNT travels from Osawatomie to Herrington.  This trail is open in many areas, and where open is well maintained.  There are currently no restrooms or water fountains next to the FHNT and some of it is still under construction so plan accordingly.  Some of the most beautiful landscapes, bridges, and wildlife can be seen from these trail systems.

If you haven't seen the new work that the three large communities (Ottawa, Garnett, Iola) have put into their systems, I urge you to investigate.  New signs, trails, primitive camping (Garnett South Lake), and trail access have been placed in these destinations.  The amount of work that volunteers and the cities do for these areas is astounding.

Epic Ultras has races on the trail in the Spring and Fall.  Some of the most positive and determined people I have ever met have participated in these runs.  Two distances are usually offered.  One at 50 miles and the other 100 miles.  If you are looking for a challenge, visit their website.

 

Jim Manning

Ranger, Prairie Spirit Trail

General Information
Phone:
Address:
419 S. Oak
 
Garnett, KS    66032
County/Counties:

Prairie Spirit Trail (PDF 673.93 kB)

Garnett Area Chamber Of Commerce - (785) 448-6767


History
 

The trail is built upon a railroad Right-of Way which was the first north -south rail line in Kansas. The rail line was constructed in the1860's.

Prairie Spirit Trail Areas






Prairie Spirit Trail Trails
Prairie Spirit Trail – South End – Welda Rest Area
  • Trail Season: Year-around
  • Length of Trail: 33 mile(s)
  • Trail Activities: Walking, Mt. Biking
  • There is camping located near the trail
  • There is a permit required on the trail
  • This trail is ADA accessible
  • Location of Start: N38 10 10.7 W095 17 42.6
  • Click for more information

    A 33 mile linear park built upon a rail-banked rail corridor. The riding/walking surface is 8 feet wide hard packed limestone screenings. Grades are moderate and follo the original rail grades. 17 additional miles are scheduled to open in 2007.


Prairie Spirit Trail – North End – Ottawa Depot
  • Trail Season: Year-around
  • Length of Trail: 33 mile(s)
  • Trail Activities: Walking, Mt. Biking
  • There is camping located near the trail
  • There is a permit required on the trail
  • This trail is ADA accessible
  • Location of Start: N38 37 13. 3 W095 16 12.0
  • Click for more information

    A 33 mile linear park built upon a rail-banked rail corridor. The riding/walking surface is 8 feet wide hard packed limestone screenings. Grades are moderate and follo the original rail grades. 17 additional miles are scheduled to open in 2007.


Prairie Spirit Trail Calendar